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6 Tips To Build Relationship With Birth Parents

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As a foster parent, many of us tend to join the journey to help children. Before getting licensed many parents tend to dream about spending holidays with foster kiddo or celebrating the child’s birthday. We think about all the fun traditions and ways we can give the child special moments.

One significant person and relationship we do not consider pre-foster care is our relationship with the birth parent during the foster care journey. Usually we begin to really try to hash the relationship out after we are already in the deep in the middle of the journey. It’s too late to prepare our minds and emotions when we are in the thick of the journey.

Even though it is obvious, it is significant enough to state here that the foster child and birth parent relationship is extremely important to maintain if at all possible. Thus, it should be important for, us, the foster parents to approach this relationship in the best manner possible.


6 Tips for Engaging Birth Parents

  1. APPROACH WITH HUMILITY
    It could be simple for a foster parent to get a “moral license” from the fostering situation – feeling as though they are superior for caring for a child when the birth parent cannot. However, as foster or adoptive parents, we must remember that WE, ourselves, are only a few bad decisions away from being in their situation. We should NEVER look upon parents with superiority but with a strong humility that soberingly realizes we could easily be where they are at in a few days….
    How do you want to be treated?
  2. Reassurance – You’re Not going to take kids
    You are there to help the FAMILY not the child. It might be very easy to get excited about our own agenda for helping foster children or simply welcoming a child into our home that we can forget that the goal for ALL foster children first and foremost is to return the child back home.
  3. Expect the Worst While Hoping For the Best
    Never forget that you are quite possibly seeing your foster kiddo’s parent at their worst. Many of us have moments that we are not proud of but they are not made public to various strangers and agency workers. This is quite frankly embarrassing and can cause a huge hit to one’s self-esteem to the point where you fight to feel that you are worthy of anything. Possibly the way some birth parents hope to find reclaimed worth is by making the foster parent appear to be horrible so they seem better.
    It’s a normal response that anyone would unconsciously make when we feel like we are cornered – we FIGHT for survival. However, among all of these feelings while we are expecting the worst, we should still approach any contact with a birth parent hoping for the best outcome.
  4. Be Secure With Yourself
    When you don’t see eye to eye with a birth parent (or maybe even your agency), you need to remember who you are and not focus on what people are saying about you. As foster parents, we may tend to get caught up in the performance of our care for the children in our care. However, we must remember that our performance doesn’t make us who we are. If you get caught in this mindset, you WILL take a things personally and let things affect you when people begin to criticize your parenting skills.
  5. Communication. Communication. Communication.
    Throughout the foster journey one thing that commonly frustrates foster parents is the feeling that they are not being included with all the information of a case while attempting to help a child through the whole situation. We must entertain the idea that the birth parent also must be equally frustrated with the same system.
    Providing a birth parent with as much information as possible can (with time) alleviate fears of the birth parent and help to eventually get both of you onto the same “team.” What should you share with the birth parent?

    • Medical Appointments
    • Photos/Videos of Milestones or successes in the Child’s Life
      First step, first haircut, loose teeth, graduations, a good grade on a test, first day of school, first time driving a car, and so on.
    • Struggles
      Is their child having trouble making friends? trouble in math? scared at night?
    • Child misses mom and/or dad
      It can be a good motivator and comforting to know that you’re not forgotten and missed by a loved one.Be sure to utilize services such as Facebook, E-mail, and Google Voice to easily help you keep the lines of communication open. All of these services allow to create accounts that are not your primary services with all of your personal information attached to them. Also, be sure to consult with your foster agency about the rules your state as about using social media and sharing various information or photos.
  6. Find A Tribe
    Every foster and adoptive parent should have a group of caregivers which they talk and/or meet with at regular intervals. There is something relaxing and therapeutic about talking about your life issues with other people that are on a similar life journey. Other foster/adoptive parents will simply be able to understand your situation better and will be able to listen better. The foster journey is difficult and you will need people to help you get back in the game when the waters of life get choppy.

Transfiguring Adoption offers a weekly online support group which meets on Facebook and YouTube every Monday at 8pm EST. [Learn More]


What tips would you add to the list?

Comment below or E-mail us at: info@transfiguringadoption.com


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How To Choose A Tutor For Your Child

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Guest Blog by TutorDoctor.com

At the start of a new school year, it’s all too easy to fret and worry about your child’s academic
success. The good news is, you and your child don’t need to face these worries alone. A skilled
tutor can really help a student develop new skills and abilities they never knew they had. In fact,
a tutor can make a world of difference in a young person’s life. Choosing a tutor, however, can
be challenging, so here are a few tips that might help.

Does my child really need a tutor?

It can be difficult to acknowledge your young person’s academic weaknesses, but it really
shouldn’t be. Every human being has weaknesses (as well as strengths). In fact, be glad, because
identifying areas that need help is the first step in overcoming those areas. In truth, however, a
smart parent doesn’t just hire a tutor to boost grades in problem classes. A good tutor has the
skills and experience to help your learner in countless ways. The goal should always be about far
more than boosting grades — it should be about helping your child find excellence in school and
in life. A good tutor can help you make that happen.

How can a tutor help my child?

Struggles in school can set up an awful cycle. A learner feels disappointed, then starts to feel
increased stress, then starts to lose confidence, then starts to decline academically, and round it
goes. A good tutor can help break that cycle. Not only can problem areas be addressed, but the
student can learn to cope more effectively with obstacles. Breaking the chain of insecurity and
shame can empower a young learner tremendously, equipping them for lifelong success.
What’s more, a dedicated tutor offers much more than academic know-how — ideally they will
not just help your student learn specific subjects, but learn about how to excel in school. This
includes study tips, lifestyle changes, organizational improvements and more.

What if my child has an exceptionality?

A huge percentage of young people have learning exceptionalities such as ADHD, dyslexia and
so on. Happily, society is gradually abandoning the stigma associated with these challenges.
Even better, a growing body of knowledge can equip parents and students alike with the
information they need to find a path to educational excellence no matter what issues they may
have.
Good tutors have a full understanding of every exceptionality under the sun, and can offer coping
strategies and study skills that will not only get them through school but achieve inspiring and
amazing feats of academic excellence.

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What exactly should I look for in a tutor?

It’s important to be a bit choosy. Sometimes a high schooler with skill in a needed subject area
will get the job done. But for the best outcomes possible, it’s important to find a tutor who has a
great many skills that go beyond academic subject areas. The best tutor is someone who
understands all the complex and overlapping aspects of student life and can help your learner
improve not just in one subject area but help them develop as a person. This requires skills,
training and experience.

How important is a tutor’s personality?

Don’t underestimate personality. At Tutor Doctor, we employ a tutor matching system that helps
connect students with a tutor who is the best fit possible. It’s critically important for student and
tutor to connect. This helps the student relax, de-stress and concentrate. Good tutoring is a
collaborative effort, and that means everyone involved will have to work as a team — not just
student and tutor but parents and teachers as well.

The most important characteristic is heart. An experienced tutor understands just how much a
young person can be transformed with the right sort of help. Imagine an adult thinking back to
their school days and pondering the many things they wish they’d known back then. Well, a
good tutor will give your student all the tools and knowledge they might otherwise miss.

tutor-doctor-transfiguring-adoptionTutor Doctor offers in-home tutoring in a
plethora of locations throughout the
United States, Canada, and the United
Kingdom. Tutor Doctor also offers tailored
programming to help your child while working
with the teachers at your child's school.
The company hires tutors that are accustomed
to working with children from various
backgrounds and with varying academic challenges.

www.tutordoctor.com

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Parenting in the Eye of the Storm – Adoption Book Review

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From the Cover of Parenting in the Eye of the Storm: The Adoptive Parent’s Guide to Navigating the Teen Years by Katie Naftzger:

“Describing the essential skills you need to help your adopted teen confidently face the challenges of growing up, adult adoptee and family therapist Katie Naftzger shares her personal and professional wisdom. Parenting in the Eye of the Storm contains invaluable insights for adoptive parents with simple strategies you can use to prepare your adopted teen for the journey ahead and strengthen the family bond in process.”

Grade:

5 hoots out of 5

Transfiguring Adoption awarded this book 5 Hoots out of 5 based on how useful it will be for a foster/adoptive family. [Learn more about our Hoot grading system here]

What Our Family Thought:

The most powerful and important voice for adoptive parents to hear is that of the adoptee. In this book, readers will find the wisdom of not only an adoptee who experienced being adopted internationally, but one who now has years of experience as a therapist working with adoptees and their families to draw upon as well.

Parenting in the Eye of the Storm begins with a chapter that delves into the many layers of loss that adoptees experience describing 8 different losses, some of which are generally not thought about. Ms. Naftzger goes on to explain four parenting tasks she considers essential to parenting an adopted teen. The last three chapters discuss race, privilege and cultural norms, mental health, and self-care. While discussions of race center upon the experience of Asian adoptees, much of what Ms. Naftzger says can be applied beyond to other interracial adoptions.

Throughout the book, adoptive parents will find practical examples, stories of the author’s experiences and those of her clients, questions for introspection, and tips including what to say and what not to say. This book is meant to be read front to back and not used as a reference. Adoptive parents will likely all find some new perspective(s) as a result of reading Parenting in the Eye of the Storm.


Buy From Our Links and Support Transfiguring Adoption:


It’s Your Turn:

  1. Had you previously considered all eight areas of loss experienced by adoptees discussed in Chapter One?
  2. Which of the 4 parenting tasks do you find most challenging?
  3. Which parenting task do you feel most equipped for?
  4. What do you do for self-care?

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